Boy, 15, suspected in New Year's killing of Howard High classmate, dies

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A teenage boy who police say fatally shot a Howard High School classmate and wounded her mother before turning the gun on himself during a home invasion early New Year's Day has died.

Howard County police on Tuesday named Howard High sophomore Sean Crizer, 15, as the masked intruder. He died Tuesday at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.


They said the Ellicott City boy shot his neighbors, fellow sophomore Charlotte Zaremba, 16, and her mother, Suzanne Zaremba, 52, before shooting himself early Sunday.

"I would never have expected this from him," said Kieran Davis, 15, who attended Ellicott Mills Middle School with both teenagers. "It's very hard to wrap my head around."


In recent weeks, Crizer burglarized two homes in the Howard County neighborhood of Montgomery Knolls, police said. The gun used in the killing was reported stolen during one of the burglaries. Officers recovered the gun and a mask at the Zaremba home, which is about two miles from Howard High School.

Crisis counselors were sent to Howard High on Monday and Tuesday to help grieving students and teachers. Some students were planning a candlelight vigil. Others were making cards for the Zaremba family. An office secretary answered calls from those wanting to send flowers and condolences.

Principal Nicholas Novak said teachers and students were struggling to understand the violence.

"They're taking it pretty hard," he said. "No one expected to start the new year this way."

Novak said he didn't know the two students.

"We never saw either of them up here in the front office," he said. "They both were good students and not getting into any trouble and getting good grades."

Charlotte Zaremba volunteered in the nonprofit Best Buddies program that fosters friendships for people with developmental disabilities, Howard County Schools spokesman John White said.

The 2016 high school yearbook showed Charlotte participating in a freshmen overnight, and Crizer sitting in social studies class.


"From the few interactions I had with him," Davis said, "I could say that he was a nice, funny kid, if not a little odd, but in a non-threatening way."

Davis was friends with Charlotte, and said she was stunned to hear police name Crizer as the masked intruder.

The Zaremba home is on a short block of ranchers ending in woodlands. Neighbors have declined to speak to reporters.

Friends of the Zaremba family started at least two pages on the website Go Fund Me and have raised thousands of dollars for the family.

On Tuesday afternoon, two police cars were parked outside the Crizer home on Alice Avenue in Montgomery Knolls. Officers said the family had requested privacy.

No one answered the door at the Zaremba home less than a half-mile away on Knoll Glen Drive.


Officers continue to investigate any connection between the two sophomores. Detectives have not found any indication of a relationship between them, police said.

In the early hours of New Year's Day, Charlotte's parents had picked her up from a party and returned home. Shortly before 2 a.m., Suzanne Zaremba heard a scuffle in her daughter's bedroom, police said. She found Charlotte struggling with a masked intruder. The intruder, Crizer, shot both the mother and daughter before shooting himself, police said.

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Charlotte died at Howard County General Hospital, police said, and her mother was treated at Shock Trauma and released. Suzanne Zaremba was shot in her leg. Charlotte's father also was home at the time and was not injured.

Crizer had been hospitalized in critical condition before his death Tuesday.

Detectives found no signs of forced entry into the home, and they don't know if the intruder entered before or after the family returned from the party, police said.

Officers also don't know if Crizer intentionally targeted the girl, police said.


"I just hope it's one thing that doesn't pull us apart, that we can come together and stay strong as a school," said Novak, the Howard High principal. "It's a tough position for the students and staff to be in, when you have two students who lose their lives, and one at the hand of another."

Baltimore Sun reporter Carrie Wells contributed to this article.